Showing posts with label nba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nba. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thunder rally to edge Lakers 77-75 in Game 2

sports news
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, left, tumbles over Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum during the first quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Down in desperation time, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks called on Kevin Durant to show that he's more than just a three-time scoring champion. And that meant guarding one of the NBA's all-time best.

Durant was up to the challenge, keeping Kobe Bryant from excelling as usual in his closer's role while sparking the Thunder's rally for a 77-75 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

Durant scored 22 points and rattled in the go-ahead basket on a baseline runner with 18 seconds left as Oklahoma City scored the final nine points. He also had a crucial steal from Bryant to fuel the rally.

"People talk about how I score the ball," said Durant, one of only seven players to lead the NBA in scoring three straight seasons.

"They don't look at me when we go on the other end. I think this whole playoff run, I've been picking it up on the defensive end."

Oklahoma City trailed by seven with 2 minutes left before surging back with a series of defensive stops by its stars to rally from that deficit in the closing stages of a game for the second time this postseason. The Thunder also were down by seven with 2 1/2 minutes left in Game 1 of the first round against defending NBA champion Dallas.

"They won't quit. That's not in their DNA," Brooks said. "They're not wired that way and if they were, they wouldn't be here. We're not going to win every game, but we're going to fight to the last second of the game and we did that tonight.

"If we would have gotten down on ourselves with 2 minutes to go, we would have lost by 12 and we would go to L.A. 1-1."

Instead, Oklahoma City takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on Friday night at Staples Center.

Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points apiece for the Lakers, who came up empty on their last six possessions after Bynum's hook shot made it 75-68 with 2:09 remaining.

Struggling throughout the second half and missing 20 of their first 27 shots, the Thunder came alive after Brooks called a timeout when Bynum's basket gave Los Angeles its largest lead of the game.

James Harden drove for a layup before Durant used his height advantage to reach up and tip away a pass from Bryant. He then ran out for a right-handed dunk at the other end.

Brooks had switched Durant onto Bryant with about 5 minutes left, after Bryant had hit a pair of jumpers as the Lakers started to inch away.

"That wasn't the game plan going in, but there was a moment when I thought Kobe was starting to fill it and I thought Kevin's length would bother him," Brooks said.

That's exactly how it played out - with the 6-foot-9 Durant using his wingspan to come up with an energizing steal and fast-break chance.

Russell Westbrook then forced another turnover by challenging an outlet pass to Bryant along the sideline. Officials originally ruled that it went off Westbrook, but changed the call after seeing on replay that he didn't touch it and Bryant whiffed on the contested catch.

"What they did the last few minutes there, they just made gambles," Bryant said. "They just jumped in the passing lanes. It's something that we're not accustomed to seeing. It's just flat-out risks defensively."

Harden made the next stop, blocking Bryant's jumper on the Lakers' next possession and getting a layup in transition off it to cut the deficit to one in the final minute.

Bryant then missed on a 3-pointer and the Thunder got the ball back with the chance to take the lead and Durant was able to make it happen on the offensive end.

"I think Kevin has improved on being a two-way player," Brooks said. "I think the last three years it's taken our team to a different level and it takes his game to a different level."

Steve Blake missed an open 3-pointer from the right side with about 5 seconds left after Metta World Peace couldn't get the ball to Bryant on the inbounds play.

Bryant, who was the primary option on the play, said Blake's shot was in the air by the time he turned around to look for an inbounds pass.

"Blake was wide open. We didn't have any timeouts left and he got a clean look, a really good look," World Peace said. "He can knock that down."

Durant was then fouled with 0.3 seconds left and made his first try before missing the second on purpose - failing to hit the backboard or rim for a violation.

The Lakers got a desperation try, but Harden intercepted World Peace's long pass for Bynum.

Westbrook added 15 points for Oklahoma City, which matched its lowest scoring total of the season but still gutted out the win. The Thunder had ripped apart the Lakers' defense with their pick-and-roll attack in Game 1, scoring 119 points in a 29-point blowout.

Pau Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds for L.A.

Historically, the loss makes a huge difference. Los Angeles is 29-12 when splitting the first two games of a seven-game series and has lost 17 of 19 when falling into a 2-0 hole. The Lakers' last comeback was in the 2004 West semifinals against San Antonio.

The Thunder have won all nine of their series after leading 2-0, dating to the franchise's days in Seattle.

"We've got to win," Bynum said. "It's do or die come Friday."

Bryant almost led the Lakers to a big bounce-back victory in this one.

He drilled a jumper from the left wing and Blake followed with a 3-pointer before World Peace hit one of two free throws for a 69-63 advantage with 7:27 remaining. Bryant then answered Serge Ibaka's jumper before missing his final five shots.

He also had a hand in two turnovers in the final 2 minutes, the first created by Durant's defense.

"He used his length on Kobe. Coming up with that steal was huge," Lakers' coach Mike Brown said. "That's what great players are supposed to do. They're supposed to take on the challenge at the end of the game and he did.

"He won the game for them, basically."

Notes: The NBA fined Devin Ebanks $25,000 on Wednesday for actions related to his Game 1 ejection and Bynum $15,000 for failing to speak to reporters Tuesday. Bynum talked at the Lakers' morning shootaround Wednesday and called it a make up for skipping the previous day. ... Harden caught World Peace with an inadvertent elbow to the face in the first quarter. ... After making 10 of 15 shots in Game 1, Westbrook was 5 for 17.

News by AP

Read current news at

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lin-surgery! Knicks guard done for regular season

Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin will miss the rest of the regular season because he needs knee surgery that will sideline him six weeks and could leave the Knicks without their star point guard in the playoffs - if they make it that far.

Lin had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear and he has elected to have surgery next week in New York.

With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is done unless the Knicks make a deep postseason run.

Speaking slowly during a pregame press conference, Lin was unable to hide his disappointment with the decision that was reached earlier Saturday after a painful workout.

“It (stinks) not being able to be out there with the team,” he said.

Upcoming: Lin-surgery.

He was barely holding on to a place in the NBA back in February. Now, after the back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and popularity around the world, and now it’s over.

“If this was done very early in the year, obviously … I don’t know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot,” Lin said. “But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard.”

The Knicks will continue to turn to Baron Davis in place of Lin, the undrafted Harvard alum who became the starter in February and turned in a series of brilliant performances, kicking off a phenomenon that was called Linsanity.

Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 assists, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story.

The Knicks were under .500 and looking like a mess when Lin was given a chance to play extended minutes at point guard for then-coach Mike D’Antoni on Feb. 4 against New Jersey.

Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, scored 25 points with seven assists in that New York victory, was inserted into the starting lineup two days later against Utah, and took the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that gained world-wide attention.

The 23-year-old Lin left the Knicks’ easy victory over Detroit last Saturday after feeling discomfort, saying afterward he could have returned for the fourth quarter if the game had been close. He took part in shootaround before their game Monday and at first believed he could deal with the pain.

Though the swelling went down, the pain never did. He said he got three or four opinions that all said the same thing, and after testing it again Friday and Saturday, he decided to have the surgery.

“I can’t really do much. Can’t really cut or jump, so it’s pretty clear that I won’t be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now,” Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. “It’s disappointing for me, it’s hard to watch the games and I think I’d want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it’s a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully.”

It’s the second serious injury loss of the week for the Knicks, who are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Amare Stoudemire is out two to four weeks with a back injury, leaving the Knicks without their second- and third-leading scorers for perhaps the remainder of the regular season.

Davis still isn’t 100 percent after a herniated disk in his back kept him out of action until February. The Knicks also have Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas, plus rookie Iman Shumpert as point guard options, but none as good as Lin.

“We’ve got to go on, but he’s a big piece of our puzzle and what we were doing as of late before he actually went out,” interim coach Mike Woodson said. “All’s not bad. Again, we’ve got three veteran point guards sitting over there and the rookie we could play some at the point. We’re just going to have to make do until he’s able to get back into uniform. But it is a big blow.”

Lin flourished in D’Antoni’s offense, and there was immediate speculation he would struggle - or even lose his starting spot - when Woodson replaced him on March 14. Instead, Lin kept on rolling, leading the Knicks to six wins in seven games before he was hurt.

Woodson said he’s known of players that have played through meniscus tears, but that only Lin knows his body. Lin knew he would need surgery eventually, but hoped to delay it until after the season.

“He’s elected to have the surgery and we’ve got to respect that, because only he knows the pain that he’s feeling. And there is a problem, so it’s got to be fixed,” Woodson said.

The Knicks had already tried three point guards when they finally turned to Lin, who had been cut by Golden State and Houston before signing with the Knicks. D’Antoni immediately elevated him to the starting lineup after his performance against the Nets, and Lin responded with the greatest beginning stretch ever for a starter.

He was the first player with at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five starts since the Elias Sports Bureau began charting starts in 1970. He had a 3-pointer to win a game in Toronto, scored 38 points to outplay Kobe Bryant in a national TV victory over the Lakers, then had 28 points and 14 assists in another nationally televised victory over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

All along, the frenzy around him increased. Commissioner David Stern said he had never seen so much interest created by one player in such a short period of time. Knicks games were picked up by TV stations in basketball-crazed Asia, and Lin actually pleaded for privacy for his family in Taiwan.

Lin will be a free agent after the season and said he hopes to return to New York, but otherwise wasn’t thinking that far in the future.

“I’m not even worried about that right now,” he said. “It’s not like a career-ending thing or it’s not something that will bother me. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s the most simple surgery you can have and so I’m more concerned about the season.”

News by Yahoo

Read current news at

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NBA Christmas schedule: What to watch in all five games

Derrick Rose begins his defense of his MVP against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers
NBA Christmas schedule: What to watch in all five games

Back on Thanksgiving weekend, NBA commissioner David Stern and union head Billy Hunter met, with a noticeably increased sense of urgency on the league’s side. There was no question as to why—Stern wanted to push to reach a deal on a new collective-bargaining agreement so that the league could still air its prized package of games, on Christmas Day. The deal got done, and now comes the payoff.

“We got some incredible games on Christmas Day, I am excited,” Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Magic Johnson said. “I am glad that the focus will be back on the game, back on the teams, back on the superstars we have in this league. I am ready to go. And they’re ready to go as well. And the fans are back and ready to go.”

In that case, let’s go. There are five games on tap, and each is worth a look. All times are Eastern.

Celtics at Knicks, noon

Worth watching: When last we saw the Knicks, they were being swept by the Celtics in a series that was deceptively close—the first two games were decided by a total of five points. The mantra then, though, was that after acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver, the Knicks simply needed more time together to develop chemistry.

Instead, we got a lockout that slashed training camp down to two weeks and the Knicks roster went through a convulsion when they let Billups go and overpaid for Tyson Chandler. So, in what seems like an annual ritual, the Knicks will have to learn on the fly, and going against a Boston team that could return its starting five from the playoffs—Paul Pierce (ankle) may not play—will be a good first test of New York’s ability to do that.

Heat at Mavericks, 2:30 p.m.

Worth watching: There is very little reason that the Heat can’t step into this season firing on all cylinders. They’re (mostly) healthy, and they return pretty much everyone from their Finals team last year, with the addition of Shane Battier a big boost to the rotation. If you’re coach Erik Spoelstra, you’d like to see your guys—especially the star trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh—come out with a killer attitude and jump on the team that stopped their championship drive last year. A focused, no-nonsense effort would be a nice way to set the tone for the season in Miami.

It should help, too, that Dallas lost some key pieces, especially Chandler in the middle and J.J. Barea off the bench. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle will tinker with working new guys Lamar Odom and Vince Carter into the rotation.

Bulls at Lakers, 5 p.m.

Worth watching: It will be nice to watch Derrick Rose get started on his defense of his MVP award and his justification of his new contract, especially with new shooting guard Richard Hamilton aboard. But this game will mostly be about the Lakers, as new coach Mike Brown makes his debut, without Odom and with center Andrew Bynum out because of a suspension levied for a bonehead play in last year’s playoffs.

Brown also has to deal with Kobe Bryant’s thumb injury and Pau Gasol’s mindset, which could be an issue since he was nearly included in a trade for Chris Paul. It’s a new era for Lakers fans, and they might not like how things look at the outset.

Magic at Thunder, 8 p.m.

Worth watching: Like Stan Van Gundy doesn’t have enough to worry about, with a disjointed roster and a superstar big man who wants out of Orlando. Now, the league is adding insult to his injury by making his team play on Christmas, something Van Gundy has been vocal in complaining about in the past. Worse, the Magic have to travel to Oklahoma City, one of the tougher places to play in the NBA, against a team that is primed to take its spot as a championship contender this year.

Still, the Magic have the makings of a pretty good team, as long as Howard stays active and engaged while the trade rumors fly. Going up against Thunder center/agitator Kendrick Perkins should get Howard’s juices flowing—the last time he saw Perkins, he went for 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Perkins was scoreless in five shot attempts.

Clippers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m.

Worth watching: How many times has it been said that a Clippers-Warriors tilt is must-see TV? If this is the first time, it just goes to show how excitement has increased now that L.A. has added point guard Chris Paul to Blake Griffin’s team.

With Griffin and young center DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers have two of the three leading dunkers in the league from last year, and bringing in deft passers like Paul and Chauncey Billups has already earned the Clippers the nickname, “Lob City.” They will travel to the Bay Area to make their debut against the Warriors, a team that new coach Mark Jackson is hoping to instill with a new defensive mindset. Good luck with that, coach.

News by AOL

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Euro-league Basketball: Nancy loses big against Fenerbahçe

Euro-league Basketball
AFP - Nancy has lost much of his illusions in Euroleague basketball in his room leaning heavily against the Turks of Fenerbahce (53-73) Wednesday night at a great shortage of offensive.

The champions of France are now virtually condemned to win their last two matches to hope to qualify for the Top 16, this second phase that no club has not seen since ProA Pau-Orthez in 2007.

That is to say how Wednesday's defeat, his first this season at home, is expensive to Sluc who had run after the score throughout the game and never actually digested anemic first period (25-32) .

Denied by the pace of basketball academic "Fener" players Jean-Luc Monschau never managed to break free of their chains. Expelled from the Turkish bat, they tried their luck from distance, but were too clumsy (30% in the two-point shots, 22% three!) To hope for better.

Stronger after the break, they managed to return a moment to a point (40-41, 28th). But as soon as they sniffed the equalizer, their opponents took up the wide, taking advantage of their awkwardness and their waste in the game to impose a night Lorraine terribly frustrating.

Orphans of Nicolas Batum, left in the NBA, players Nancy did not receive much support from their new winger Kenny Gregory. Arrived only the night before the United States, the former Manceau did with the means at hand but did not logically that weighed (8 points).

Victor Samnick and Adrien Moerman is even less inspired, the Sluc tried to rely on Jamal Shuler (17 points) in an attempt to erase its chronic deficit in the wings. But it would have taken much to trouble Wednesday as serene as a Fenerbahçe Sluc was the draft.